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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupMay in review: A Watershed Month for New-Generation AC75 Training

May in review: A Watershed Month for New-Generation AC75 Training

The first full month of new-generation AC75 training, May was a watershed month for all of the teams as they brought their new technology to the forefront of their campaigns and firmly began the debate about who has the fastest boat. Answers are nuanced, definitive opinions are not to be trusted, these are the early days of the race for the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup and there’s less than 80 days now until the first proper line-ups and reality bites for the sailors. Let’s take a look at what everyone’s been up to in May:

Gilles Martin-Raget

Emirates Team New Zealand – Defender of the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup

By dint of geography, the Defenders of the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup concluded their intensive and impressive two-week work-up of ‘Taihoro,’ their new AC75, right at the beginning of the month to prepare for transportation up to Barcelona with a target date of the 1st of July to resume training at the venue.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Performance was good and the team kept everyone guessing running legacy foils – more to come when they get to Europe. The senior sailing team immediately went into two-boat race practice with their LEQ12 and the one-design AC40 and were pushed hard by the talent of Josh Junior and Sam Meech who are also heavily involved with bringing the Youth & Women Kiwi teams up to speed.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

We saw the emergence of Gemma Jones as both a helm and trimmer whilst the likes of Jo Aleh, Olivia Mackay, Molly Meech and Erica Dawson plus the Youth team took every opportunity to get vital on-the-water experience sailing the AC40OD from dawn to dusk at times as Auckland days get shorter and the winter sets in.

INEOS Britannia – Challenger of Record

The Challenger of Record unveiled their new AC75 at the beginning of the month and christened her ‘Britannia’ on Saturday 18th May with Sir Jim Ratcliffe in attendance and even taking on some cyclor duties in the port pod after the ceremony.

What has been unveiled has everyone talking in the Port Vell, the result of a perfect fusion of the capabilities within the INEOS Sports Group that includes Mercedes Applied Science and the INEOS Grenadiers Cycling Team. A ‘hyper-design’ with every inch pored over, early sea-trials were understandably cautious but revealed a potent, stable platform that represents the best chance since the 1930’s of success in the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup.

© © Job Vermeulen / America’s Cu

The team swapped in a legacy rudder from AC36 at the beginning of the month to make modifications but swapped back by the end of the month and the performance gains were there to see. Sir Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott have been clicking well through the commissioning phase with Dylan Fletcher-Scott stepping in at times on helming duties as a brilliant understudy. The British are on a roll and the next two months of development will be key to their overall success.

Behind the fence: Sir Jim provides the pedal power for Britannia:


Alinghi Red Bull Racing

The angular, radical, eye-catching design of Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s ‘BoatOne’ is fast becoming a fan-favourite around the Port Vell and in May the sailing team really ramped up their time on the water and started pushing the boat to find its limits.


They have been sensational in training, executing fast laps and superb pre-start time-on-distance runs with Arnaud Psarofaghis and Maxime Bachelin connecting well through a variety of transitions and manoeuvres as the stand-out designated helms for this intriguing challenge. The team is settled and organised with a regimented training plan for their days on the water and the team very much trusting in the process.


Legacy sails have been introduced to protect their sail card and the team rand symmetric foils from early on in May to make the flight and ride height much smoother and stable. One word sums up this team: ‘relentless’ and they proved it again in May as the busiest team on the water.

Behind the fence: Month 1 in BoatOne


NYYC American Magic

A simply huge month for the Americans who brought their low-volume, highly aero design of ‘Patriot’ into commission after Vice Commodore of the New York Yacht Club, Clare Harrington, officially named her in a ceremony on 7th May.


Immediately after the ceremony, Patriot was out and sailing with Lucas Calabrese and Paul Goodison putting her through her maiden sail. The big talking point was the introduction of recumbent cyclors and a side-by-side design for the helms and trimmers that overall has produced a highly aero-efficient deck package. Tom Slingsby came back for the commissioning process and the intensity of their training has been ramping up as the team get comfortable with the platform and push ever harder. Some initial jib track and system gremlins were largely ironed-out by the end of the month and a new, longer rudder was introduced that has given the team more options on ride height, particularly downwind.

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

The team’s commitment to on-water training is unquestioned and they’re developing all round at pace. Good month for NYYC American Magic.

Behind the fence: American Magic unveil their AC75:

© American Magic / photo by Amalia Infante

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli

The Italian team’s new and aesthetically beautiful AC75 ‘Luna Rossa’ entered into a highly effective commissioning in Cagliari with the team fast straight out of the box.

Sailing initially with legacy anhedral foils from AC36, the team quickly upgraded the starboard foil to a long-span AC37 design, and the pure potential of the new boat was quickly realised. A seven-day block of intense commissioning in a variety of breeze and sea states ensued with the team getting increasingly confident with this ultra-stable and reliable platform. Jimmy Spithill, Francesco Bruni and Marco Gradoni shared helming duties and by the end of their Cagliari block the team were well into pre-starts and laps of laid courses.

The boat was shipped across to Barcelona in double-quick time and installed at their base, on the south of the Port Vell, where it was noted that a new port foil had been added. The team took to the waters off Barcelona on the 24th of May and in subsequent sessions through to the end of the month looked extremely comfortable in Barcelona’s choppy sea-state. The team will now ramp up preparations through the summer.

Orient Express Racing Team

With the new AC75 onsite at their base in Barcelona, the Orient Express Team have been hard at work on the final fit-out and preparation ahead of the official naming ceremony on the 29th May. Mast fitting and tow-testing preceded in the week before the christening and what we saw was an incredible design reveal with the new AC75 almost an exact sister-ship to Emirates Team New Zealand’s ‘Taihoro’ from whom they bought the base design and technical specifications.

© Pau Venteo / Orient Express Raci

 Quentin Delapierre officially christened the visually stunning new boat, cracking a bottle of French Moet champagne on the port foil and thanking the shore team for a superb effort surrounded by the Youth & Women’s team skippers.

© Alexander Champy-McLean / Orient Express Racing Team

Aside from the final preparations shoreside ahead of a first sailing in early June, the sailing team, led by Quentin and Kevin Peponnet put in a lot of work on the team’s AC40 throughout May and have taken big preparation strides forward that will be invaluable in the coming months as the AC75 is commissioned and worked up to race pace.  

Behind the fence: The dream becomes reality

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